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Filip Hrgovic considering legal action to enforce mandatory title shot against Oleksandr Usyk

Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

The boxing world was ambushed over the weekend by the announcement that WBC heavyweight titleholder Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) had agreed to terms to face WBC, WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine champion Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14) in a four-belt unification bout in Saudi Arabia on a date to be determined.

No-one was more shocked by this news than IBF number one contender Filip ‘El Animal’ Hrgovic 16-0 (13).

The undefeated 31-year-old Croatian was next in line to face Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 36, who turned back the challenge of WBO mandatory contender Daniel Dubois 19-2 (18) in nine rounds in August.

The 35-year-old Fury will face boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a 10-round non-title fight Saudi Arabia on October 28 before heading directly into the Usyk fight.

Unification bouts typically take precedence over mandatory title defences, but Hrgovic’s promoter Nisse Sauerland has flagged legal action to get his boxer next crack at Usyk.

“I still find it quite unbelievable, almost disrespectful towards Ngannou, who’s meant to be fighting a ten-rounder against Tyson,” Sauerland said to Boxing Social.

“We have a position. I can’t discuss it too much here. We are consulting some kind of a legal process, because we’ve simply waited around since the [Zhilei] Zhang fight last August for a mandatory.

“We were pretty much made to fight Demsey McKean to keep our ranking and keep our mandatory spot. I understand that everyone wants to see that fight [Fury-Usyk].

“And whatever anyone says – ‘he doesn’t deserve it’ – he’s in that position. So you want to make a guy wait for a year and a half? He’s got loss of earnings, at the prime of his career, it’s just not very moral.”

If Hrgovic doesn’t face Usyk next, don’t expect him to sit on the sidelines waiting for his world title shot.

“I think he’s gonna have to keep busy isn’t he,” Sauerland said. “We’ll see. I’d like to keep busy. He’s had too may long spells off because of injury or inactivity. Ideally we’d keep him busy.”

Meanwhile, Fury has admitted that one false move against Ngannou could spell curtains for his fight against Usyk.

“All of these opponents I face, they are all risky fights, or are all big men – like anyone over 14 stone is a big man,” Fury told TNT Sport.

“All of these guys are big lumps and when I fight them the risk is always the same, they’ve got a puncher’s chance. But I never leave a stone unturned. That’s one thing I do.

“I always do everything I can in my power to be successful. The way I look at it is, if this guy is going to beat me then fair play to him I will shake his hand, he must be a good fighter because I’m no easy man to beat as I’ve shown over the years.

“So if I can bump into somebody that can beat me, I would say ‘fantastic, fair play to you, well done’, take them for a beer and that’s it.”